During London’s lockdown, air pollution was was at its lowest in 70 years, wildlife re-emerged all over the place and Londoners discovered local spots of nature they might not have noticed were on their doorstep all this time. And yet, this month, traffic is already back to 80 percent of pre-lockdown levels and parks are full of waste (some of it even human). While we’re all clearly desperate to embrace the latest freedoms, it shouldn’t be at the expense of the very nature that saved us from ourselves in lockdown.
That’s why this campaign is now kicking off. #PlasticFreePints is asking Londoners to apply the same logic to the emerging takeaway pints trend as they would to their morning coffee in the Before Times.
In case you’re unaware, taps at many of London’s pubs are pouring again, with boozers offering a takeaway pints service primed for sunny catch-ups in the park. It’s a great way to support your favourite local in tough times. But many of the capital’s participating bars are serving up a takeout round in plastic glasses or bottles. #PlasticFreePints wants Londoners to bring their own vessel next time they hit the pub for a carry-out.
The initiative comes from Ours to Save, a platform for global climate news, and EcoDisco, a consultancy championing sustainable nightlife, who suggest that punters take along a ‘pint glass, milk bottle, pickle jar’ or similar vessel for pubs to fill for them in place of the typical single-use plastic on offer. They’re then asking people to upload a photo to social media using the #PlasticFreePints hashtag to help spread the word.
‘Given the success of coffee keepcups, the solution to the increase in litter we’re seeing at the moment is glaringly obvious. People are adopting sustainable attitudes and behaviours during the pandemic, so we’re hoping #PlasticFreePints will be another innovation in this green renewal,’ says Florence Wildblood from Ours to Save.
While some UK establishments are nervous to use customer glassware when aiming to minimise contact with punters, some London pubs have embraced the idea and incorporated it into their service. The White Hart in New Cross Gate, for example, asks customers to pay a deposit for a two-pint container that you can use for repeat visits or return to the bar for a refund once you’ve finished your round.
EcoDisco has launched its own reusable steel pint glass so that pubs can purchase them and set up a similar deposit scheme. The Wheatsheaf in Tooting and The Crooked Well in Camberwell are among the London pubs already participating.
So grab your most stylish schooner or just a plain old jam jar for your next outdoor session. In the meantime, we’ll be updating our list of pubs doing takeaway pints so you can find out where to get a guilt-free round to enjoy in London’s unspoilt nature spots as soon as the sun returns.